The Parent’s Assistant

Author: Maria Edgeworth

Scene II.

In the back scene a flock of sheep are seen penned. In front, a party of country lads and lasses, gaily dressed, as in sheep-shearing time, with ribands and garlands of flowers, etc., are dancing and singing.

Enter PATTY, dressed as the Queen of the Festival, with a lamb in her arms. The dancers break off when she comes in, and direct their attention towards her.

1st Peasant. Oh, here comes Patty! Here comes the Queen o’ the day. What has kept you from us so long, Patty?

2nd Peasant. "Please your Majesty," you should say.

Patty. This poor little lamb of mine was what kept me so long. It strayed away from the rest; and I should have lost him, so I should, for ever, if it had not been for a good young gentleman. Yonder he is, talking to Farmer Hearty. That’s the young gentleman who pulled my lamb out of the ditch for me, into which he had fallen—pretty creature!

1st Peasant. Pretty creature—or, your Majesty, whichever you choose to be called—come and dance with them, and I’ll carry your lamb.
(Exeunt, singing and dancing.)


Farmer. Why, young gentleman, I’m glad I happened to light upon you here, and so to hinder you from going farther astray, and set your heart at ease like.

Talb. Thanks, good farmer, you have set my heart at ease, indeed. But the truth is, they did frighten me confoundedly—more fool I.

Farm. No fool at all, to my notion. I should, at your age, ay, or at my age, just the self-same way have been frightened myself, if so be that mention had been made to me, that way, of my own mother’s having broke her leg or so. And greater, by a great deal, the shame for them that frighted you, than for you to be frighted. How young gentlemen, now, can bring themselves for to tell such lies, is to me, now, a matter of amazement, like, that I can’t noways get over.

Talb. Oh, farmer, such lies are very witty, though you and I don’t just now like the wit of them. This is fun, this is quizzing; but you don’t know what we young gentlemen mean by quizzing.

Farm. Ay, but I do though, to my cost, ever since last year. Look you, now, at yon fine field of wheat. Well, it was just as fine, and finer, last year, till a young Eton jackanapes—

Talb. Take care what you say, farmer; for I am a young Eton jackanapes.

Farm. No; but you be not the young Eton jackanapes that I’m a-thinking on. I tell you it was this time last year, man; he was a-horseback, I tell ye, mounted upon a fine bay hunter, out a-hunting, like.

Talb. I tell you it was this time last year, man, that I was mounted upon a fine bay hunter, out a-hunting.

Farm. Zooks! would you argufy a man out of his wits? You won’t go for to tell me that you are that impertinent little jackanapes!

Talb. No! no! I’ll not tell you that I am an impertinent little jackanapes!

Farm (wiping his forehead). Well, don’t then, for I can’t believe it; and you put me out. Where was I?

Talb. Mounted upon a fine bay hunter.

Farm. Ay, so he was. "Here, YOU," says he, meaning me—"open this gate for me." Now, if he had but a-spoke me fair, I would not have gainsaid him: but he falls to swearing, so I bid him open the gate for himself. "There’s a bull behind you, farmer," says he. I turns. "Quizzed him!" cries my jackanapes, and off he gallops him, through the very thick of my corn; but he got a fall, leaping the ditch out yonder, which pacified me, like, at the minute. So I goes up to see whether he was killed; but he was not a whit the worse for his tumble. So I should ha’ fell into a passion with him then, to be sure, about my corn; but his horse had got such a terrible sprain, I couldn’t say anything to him; for I was apitying the poor animal. As fine a hunter as ever you saw! I am sartain sure he could never come to good after.

Talb. (aside). I do think, from the description, that this was Wheeler; and I have paid for the horse which he spoiled! (Aloud.) Should you know either the man or the horse again, if you were to see them?

Farm. Ay, that I should, to my dying day.

Talb. Will you come with me, then, and you’ll do me some guineas’ worth of service?

Farm. Ay, that I will, with a deal of pleasure; for you be a civil spoken young gentleman; and, besides, I don’t think the worse on you for being FRIGHTED a little about your mother; being what I might ha’ been, at your age, myself; for I had a mother myself once. So lead on, master. (Exeunt.)



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Chicago: Maria Edgeworth, "Scene II.," The Parent’s Assistant, ed. Altemus, Henry in The Parent’s Assistant Original Sources, accessed August 14, 2022,

MLA: Edgeworth, Maria. "Scene II." The Parent’s Assistant, edited by Altemus, Henry, in The Parent’s Assistant, Original Sources. 14 Aug. 2022.

Harvard: Edgeworth, M, 'Scene II.' in The Parent’s Assistant, ed. . cited in , The Parent’s Assistant. Original Sources, retrieved 14 August 2022, from